Already in its 8th installment, the redundantly named FYF (Fuck Yeah Fest) Fest made for a great day in beautiful sunny L.A. of music, comedy and fun. Taking most attendants away of the hustle and bustle of the city and the workweek, L.A’s Historic Park became the getaway site to celebrate this year’s Labor Day weekend. This year line-up featured performers like Four Tet, No Age, The Olivia Tremor Control, Glass Candy, Girls, YACHT, URB favorite and L.A. native Nosaj Thing, Explosions in the Sky, Simian Mobile Disco, and the now-considered dance-punk classics, Death From Above 1979. With others like the Descendants, Guided By Voices, Broken Social Scene, Dan Deacon, Cold War Kids, Smith Westerns, The Weakerthans, Cults, and many more, the festival offered up a variety of talent to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
Searching for the energy needed for such a long day of music, I ended up going to the performances that strayed toward electronic sounds and engaging visual stimulation. While I too enjoy the ambient rock stylings of acts like Purity Ring, The Olivia Tremor Control and Explosions in the Sky, they were clearly best suited for the daytime as a post-rock after lunchtime snack to lay back to and enjoy under a tree or one of the shade tents spread out through the park.
However, there were some interesting bands on display during the day for one’s enjoyment as the sun slowly cooked your forehead and neck. Some standouts of note from the earlier half of the day were: The Strange Boys, Ty Segall, the introspective Pink Mountaintops, and a very fun-loving Future Islands (a new favorite, highly recommended). As one would expect, the party really started when the sun ducked down behind the L.A. skyline as the turntables, monomes, laptops, distortion pedals, and video deejay systems came out of hiding.
Coming on stage at the beginning of sunset, noise pop duo No Age came on with a tremendous set, showcasing tracks from both their records such as “Teen Creeps” from Nouns as well as “Glitter” from 2010′s impressive Everything in Between. Clearly captivating, No Age worked tirelessly on stage. Never missing a beat as the audience rocked back and forth with them, veteran festival players No Age definitely had a good showing at FYF this year. Deserving of the hype, No Age exceeded expectations with on-the-fly improvisation that contributed to their overall performance.
Setting off the night was the always-impressive Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet, an expert at all levels, playing tracks from his whole catalogue, such as “She Moves She” from the impressive 2003 record Rounds, in addition to selections from last year’s There Is Love In You such as “Love Cry,” and what sounded like an alternate mixdown of “Pinnacles” from the recent split 12″ with Daphni (Caribou). A versatile craftsman, Four Tet rocked the crowd with an unpretentious amiability, concentrated on his laptop screen as the masses listened receptively for all the artifacts and glitches characteristic of Hebden’s musical style. An exceptionally well-thought out performance bringing back classics from Four Tet’s 1999 debut record Dialogue and its 2001 follow-up, Pause. For being a one-man show, he killed it.
At this moment in the festival I was met with a problem. Unsure of whether to check out Girls or YACHT as they were booked at the exact same set times, I took a breather and headed toward the other end of the field. With all three integrants Jona, Claire and Annie, YACHT lit the stage with an enthusiastic and danceable set that primed the audeince. Performing songs all the way back from their 2004 Super Warren MMIV, most of YACHT’s set was comprised of their more recent records See Mystery Lights with recognizable tracks such as “I’m In Love With A Ripper” and the unforgettable and fitting “Summer Song.” Always happy and carefree, YACHT’s performance ignited the audience. Working in tracks from their amazing 2011 record Shangri-La, songs like “Utopia,” “Dystopia,” “I Walked Alone,” and the title track “Shangri-La” were played to massive hipster approval. YACHT was outstanding.
After YACHT I headed over to check out Portland’s own Glass Candy with the beautiful Ida No on vocals and Johnny Jewel on everything else. An important band with a distinctive sound, Glass Candy are a fun-loving electroclash outfit with creative disco punk accents. Perhaps the most unexpectedly awesome show of the night, Glass Candy really surpassed my expectations. While I’m unfamiliar with the entirety of their catalogue excluding their most recent Feeling Without Touching and 2007′s critically-acclaimed B/E/A/T/B/O/X. They were a real treat. Ida No held the audience in the palm of her hand as the crowd sang along to the catchy lyrics and infectious rhythms.
While I missed out on what was probably a good set by Girls, I truly enjoyed my time at Raphael’s Stage (all the stages were named after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their rodent sensei, Splinter—clever) in addition to the opening track from Nosaj Thing and his dynamic visual show which would only be rivaled by the next performer on this stage, Dan Deacon.
Undoubtedly tired but feeling rejuvenated after a great showing by Glass Candy, I proceeded to check out Simian Mobile Disco and Dan Deacon. I spent about half my time at each, catching Simian’s thumping techno set, and cooling down a little with the introspective and eerie sounds of Deacon. Simian’s set was great, Deacon equally vivid and striking, his performance (which included about ten other people on stage with him, perhaps the Dan Deacon Ensemble) offered magnetic and high-powered visuals to boot.
Finishing off the night with a little Explosions in the Sky and headliners Death From Above 1979, I was forced to miss out on the Descendents and Dead Milkmen who were playing during the same times. Such is the case of all festivals, unfortunately. You just can’t be everywhere at once!
Explosions in the Sky had a fantastic and well thought-out set primarily with selections from this year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care and the truly memorable All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone from 2007. However, Explosions definitely tested my endurance in staying awake, as I dozed off every now and again, spacing but nevertheless finding it enjoyable. Without DFA1979 on the horizon, there’s no question that I would’ve fallen asleep right there. Explosions’ ethereal sound, delicate and soothing, came at a point where most of the crowd was too tired to appreciate the subtle composition and elaborate jams of the instrumental quartet.
Capping off the night, Death From Above took Leonardo’s Stage with just about all of the songs from their sole record You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (2004). Catching my second wind, DFA1979 played through “Black History Month,” “Dead Womb,” “Sexy Results,” “Blood on Our Hands” and so forth, finishing their set off with “Pull Out” and “Romantic Rights.” With people singing along, dancing, and even moshing towards the middle of the enormous crowd, DFA1979 truly sealed the long day with their unique brand of sensually aggressive dance-punk.
With more and more music festivals cropping up everyday serving increasingly specific musical niches, I still look forward to FYF every year. They’ve really upped their game this time around both logistically and via artist recruitment. It is definitely a worthwhile endeavor that will only grow in importance. Overall, it was a successful day for attendants and (assuming) its performers. FYF was truly a blast.
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